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Permission as a Standard Visitor (business category), whether granted before travel or where entry is sought and granted at the border, will be valid for a maximum of 6 months.

Citizens of countries on this list will always need to have been granted a visa before they travel to the UK; citizens of other countries will be able to seek entry as a visitor at the border without the need to obtain a visa before travel. However, they may be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation before travelling to the UK. This is currently only a requirement for citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia but will be rolled out to other nationalities during 2024.

A wide range of activities can be undertaken on a Standard Visitor visa (business category), most of which will not be relevant for short-term visitors to the University. The information below is relevant to University visitors, and full details of permitted activities can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration webpages.


Additional eligibility requirements

In addition to the eligibility requirements for all Standard Visitors, business category visitors must also:

  • have a formal letter of invitation from the host department/institution; and
  • remain paid and employed at their overseas institution.


Permitted activities

Standard Visitor visa (business category) visitors are allowed to:

  • Attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
  • Give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches, provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;
  • Gather information/facts for their employment overseas;
  • Carry out research, teaching or clinical practice as an eminent senior doctor or dentist (not permanent teaching post);
  • Collaborate or conduct research for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;
  • Collaborate or conduct research independently;
  • Take part in a formal research project or collaboration;
  • Take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
  • Undertake a research visit funded by Erasmus+ (project funded after 2020);
  • Receive training from the University in work practices and techniques which are required for the Visitor’s employment overseas and not available in their home country;
  • A professor from an overseas academic institution, who is accompanying students to the UK as part of a study abroad programme, may provide a small amount of teaching to the students at the University providing this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching role.


Not permitted

Certain activities are prohibited for Standard Visitor visa (business category) visitors:

  • Receiving funding from any UK source (except as below);
  • Working, being employed or self-employed, running a business or doing a work placement or internship;
  • Filling a normal post or a genuine vacancy;
  • Be entering to study for an academic qualification (study visa required);
  • Accessing medical treatment, other than private medical treatment;
  • Getting married or forming a civil partnership;
  • Extending the visa or switching in the UK to another visa route;


Acceptable Payments

The individual must not receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except for reasonable expenses to cover the cost of their travel and subsistence, including fees for directors attending board-level meetings.

A visitor’s travel, maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party (which can be the University) provided:

  • They have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and
  • They are legally present in the UK, or will be at the time of the visitor’s entry to the UK; and
  • They can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay.



  • Family members are permitted to accompany visitors, and should apply for a Standard Visitor visa (tourism, including visiting family and friends category).
  • Dependants are not permitted to work in the UK.
  • Children are not permitted to attend state school in the UK, though they may be enrolled at fee-paying schools.